[Ed. Note: The following conversation continues on from Part I, which you can catch up on HERE.]
Joel: It used to be that a defendant would face his accuser, look him in the eye. His reputation would be weighed amongst his peers, and people would know if the man was a scumbag or someone of good reputation and standing. That scene is little more than a quaint anachronism now.
Doug: Which is a pity. The best solution to this is that put forward in Tannehill's book, where arbitration agencies are mutually agreed upon by the defendant and the victim, with the State and politics having basically nothing to do with it.
In a free market justice system, everybody's got an interest to move things along quickly to an equitable result. The exact opposite of what we have today. In other words, like almost every government function, the court system should be privatized.
Joel: Moving down the institutions of criminal justice in the U.S., what about law enforcement? That could ostensibly be privatized as well, correct?
Doug: Oh, no question. It's just a fact that people who go into cop work generally have an extra Y chromosome. Meaning they tend to be brutish, aggressive, and overbearing.
There’s an alternative to public employees working eight-hour days on minimal salaries, anxious to put away the tools on one hand, and assert their authority on the other. I would rather have private individuals who are incentivized the way Mike Hammer, or Magnum P.I., would be.
Joel: And instead of being incentivized to prosecute more crime in order to justify bigger budgets, competing security agencies would sell themselves to the market by showing a downtrend in crime, proving that they were doing a good job. Plus, they’d have reason to be polite and courteous to the community that was employing their services.
Doug: Of course. And since they wouldn't be arms of the state, if they act improperly they would be subject to lawsuit, like anybody else that commits a criminal aggression. They would be private detectives, specialists in tracking down crimes. As opposed to state employees, essentially gun-toting DMV or Post Office workers. Government employees have different agendas and motivations than entrepreneurs.
Look, there’s nothing inherently magical about police work. It’s a service with a market value. Just like dentistry or roofing or lawn mowing. As such, it should be subject to the same market pressures as any other service. That way, companies that provide the best service to their community become profitable and grow. And those that violate people’s trust and use excessive force, for example, go broke because nobody will want to hire them.
Joel: And of course competition would drive down costs, making neighborhood security more affordable for communities at the lower end of the economic bracket, which would stand to benefit the most.
Doug: That's right. You wouldn’t have to worry, if the police were privatized, about people breaking down your door at 6 a.m. in the morning, like what happened to Roger Stone recently. Or happened to the Branch Davidians in Waco. Who in their right mind would voluntarily pay for such a “service”? No. These clowns would be out of business immediately. Or working to pay off damages adjudicated against them.
Joel: Imagine what local security would look like if a community could simply fire its police force if it were, oh…I don’t know, gunning down people in the streets and abusing their powers, the way a State monopoly on force demonstrably does.
Doug: It couldn’t look much worse than what we’re stuck with right now, and in actual fact it would almost certainly be unrecognizably better. Police are always a danger. Eventually they become a power unto themselves, with their first loyalty to each other, second to the government, and third to the citizens.
Joel: As we’ve mentioned before in these discussions, the world has changed drastically since the Founders were drafting the Bill of Rights. When they were writing the jurisdictional clause, for instance, they could not have imagined something like the Internet coming into existence.
What do you reckon they might have thought of something like the case of Kim Dotcom, who was arrested in New Zealand for allegedly committing some crime on the Internet? Are we now to believe that the American criminal justice jurisdiction extends to wherever there’s an Internet signal?
Doug: Yes, that was an arrogant and gross abuse of power. Kim Dotcom was a German living in New Zealand, but an American SWAT team raided his house nonetheless. It's absolutely outrageous.
And there's even more to it than that. There’s the question of double jeopardy, where if the local or state jurisdiction doesn't come up with the politically correct decision, the federal government will prosecute you again for the same crime. Perhaps in the future, the United Nations or the World Court will prosecute you if they don't like the results of a U.S. trial.
You can see where this is all going. It’s total surveillance, of all people, all of the time. A world police state. Things are headed in the exact opposite direction that they should be. Which is to say, things are becoming more centralized, formulaic, and bureaucratized. As opposed to local, flexible, and justice-oriented.
It's also important to remember, while we're talking about the criminal justice system, that in the Constitution there are only three crimes that are specified; counterfeiting, treason, and piracy.
Today, far from those three crimes, there are now thousands and thousands of federal crimes. And being prosecuted by the Feds is far more serious than being prosecuted by your local police. The Feds have vastly more resources.
Joel: It seems clear that, when you look at those three crimes – treason (overthrowing governments), counterfeiting (money-printing), and piracy (theft) – it's really just a case of the State not wanting any competition, since it’s the only game in town in all three of those areas.
In any case, how would you rate both the U.S. government and the citizens on their respect for and adherence to the 6th Amendment?
Doug: Frankly, I would have to give the system itself a D. Yes, they still trap criminals, but they also prosecute, fine, imprison, or execute lots of people who aren't criminals by any reasonable definition of the word. And you've got to give the average American a D for being completely oblivious to what's going on.
Who gets an F in today's world? Basically, overt police states. But regrettably the U.S. is devolving more and more in that direction. I fear that when the next crisis-- economic, military, or social, or whatever--- happens, the U.S. is going to descend to an F as far as the 6th Amendment is concerned. That’s when things get can very scary, very quickly.
Joel: Right. So probably the time to get out, if you can, is now.
Doug: Well, I’m finding Argentina—for all its faults—presents an excellent Plan B. The US is heading in the wrong direction at an accelerating rate. Better five years too early than five minutes too late.
Joel: As always, thanks for taking the time, Doug.
Doug: A pleasure, Joel. Until next time.
Editor's note: Clearly, there are many strange things afoot in the world. Distortions of markets, distortions of culture. It’s wise to wonder what’s going to happen, and to take advantage of growth while also being prepared for crisis. How will you protect yourself in the next crisis? See our PDF guide that will show you exactly how. Click here to download it now.